The off-season is fast approaching. This is where triathletes want to log miles and miles of swimming, cycling and running and build a solid base for the next season. And where runners log miles and miles of running for their next big race. Good plan. Yes, it’s all about consistency.
But what about strength training? Where does it fit in? And do you really need it?
Most runners and triathletes believe they don’t need it. And they don’t need it…they NEEEEEED it.
Alamo 180 Head Strength & Conditioning Coach, Jeff, said it best, “you’re not a pair of legs running down the road, or a pair of legs climbing a steep ascent, you’re a total body moving forward.”
So if you are indeed a total body moving forward, make that the strongest body possible. And it’s not going to come from swimming, cycling and running alone. You need to lift some weights. And the time to do it is in the off-season. That time is NOW.
Let me break it down and explain why:
Let’s talk about force. The force allows Darth Vader to choke dudes from across the room. Oh wait, oops, wrong force! Force is the ability to overcome resistance. In triathlon, force is the ability to move effectively through rough water, on the hills, and into the wind. Are your limiters the ability to efficiently and effectively climb hills? Or swim well in choppy water? Or run strong on a hilly course? Or keep it all together at the end of your race? If so, keep on reading.
If you can’t do a single pull-up, what makes you think you can swim at your best in smooth or even in turbulent water? You’re pulling the water with every stroke you take. You’re essentially doing pull-ups underwater. And if you have noodle arms, you’re not going to get far with much force. And if your core is weak, you won’t be able to remain stable and in control. You’re a total body moving through the water, not just a pair of arms, so make your body as strong as it can be.
Spending time on your bike and riding hills is one way to get better at climbing, the other part comes from what you do in the gym. If you want to get better at climbing, you need to build strength in your legs doing squats and deadlifts, and other leg exercises. When doing a standing climb, you’re using your arms and torso to help lift and move the bike, therefore you better have some upper body strength. Noodle arms won’t cut it (and bicep curls aren’t the solution!) Chest pressing and deadlifting will help you develop a strong upper body and low back, reduce fatigue, and setting you up for a faster run. You’re a total body on the bike, make it as strong as it can be.
If your legs are weak, how are you going to effectively and efficiently run up hills?
Strength in the legs propels you up hills as well as gives you the added strength for those tough runs off the bike. You’re not a pair of legs running down the road, you’re a total body. Make you body as strong as it can be.
The time to strength train is now. It’s base building period and this is where you focus on building your endurance and aerobic capacity. And by adding in strength training to this phase, you will begin to produce faster paces at aerobic efforts (read: you’re still in zone 1 and zone 2 but with a faster pace!). And when in-season hits, you can scale back on strength training, spend more time swimming, cycling and running, and reap the athletic benefits from all your hard work in the off-season!
So why am I preaching strength training? Because it works. And honestly, if Jeff and I didn’t believe in the power of strength training, we would not have opened a studio with strength training equipment. We would have never taken that risk. Alamo 180 would just be triathlon and run training offered around town. Strength training works and you cannot be your best without it. Period. Not everyone on our team strength trains, but our athletes that do outperform those that don’t. And not that it’s a competition of who is better on our team, it’s just an observation and a fact.
It’s a personal decision and it’s one we can’t and won’t force on anyone. We won’t shove knowledge down your throat or fill your newsfeed, but we will present the facts and hope that one day you consider that strength training is the missing link to becoming your best.
It’s amazing what happens when you start moving around some weights. We encourage you to give it a try this off-season and get ready for an awesome 2016 season! We offer drop-in classes, class passes and monthly passes. We have options to fit any schedule and budget!
Oh…and strength training is not only effective, but fun, too! See!Disclaimer: Our strength training classes are open to ALL athletes, not just Alamo 180 triathletes and runners. And if you’re following your own training plan, or your coach’s plan, we won’t force or guilt you into joining our triathlon or run group training. We are passionate about triathlon and running and want you to enjoy it and get better. It’s doesn’t matter who you are training with, all that matters is that you’re training.